Survey Fact Sheet 099-00
Online version 1.0
Three Western-Mineral-Resources Archives
Karen Bolm, Dave Frank, and Jill L. Schneider
Meeting the challenge of balancing America's needs for both nonrenewable resources and a clean, healthy environment requires accurate and unbiased scientific data. The ongoing work of U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) scientists provides information crucial to the creation of sound public policies that will ensure future supplies of mineral resources while protecting the health of our Nation's citizens. Three archives, in Anchorage, Alaska, Spokane, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona, are maintained by the USGS to help policymakers, industry leaders, government officials, elected representatives, and the general public make informed decisions on mineral issues based on accurate, up-to-date, and impartial mineral-resource information.
Alaska Technical Data Unit
In 1896, three men discovered gold on the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory of Canada. When news of the discovery reached the outside world in the summer of 1897, thousands of men and women began a great rush to the Yukon Territory and Alaska. In January 1898, Congress appropriated funds for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to make geologic and topographic surveys in Alaska. As geologists made plans for fieldwork, Walter C. Mendenhall wrote in a letter to Alfred H. Brooks:
As it turned out, both Brooks and Mendenhall realized their ambitions that year, each leading a field party to Alaska, along with the aforementioned Spurr, Eldridge, and Schrader. Brooks continued to work in Alaska and served as head of Alaskan operations from 1903 until his death in 1924. Mendenhall returned for three more field seasons (1900-2) and eventually served as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 1931 until 1943.
Mendenhall's letter is just one of the historical records preserved in the Alaska Technical Data Unit (ATDU) in Anchorage, Alaska. ATDU is the archive of original geologic field notes, maps, correspondence, and unpublished reports that document the history of USGS work in Alaska. The two major categories of reference materials are the Project History files and the Geologic Subject files.
The Project History files encompass much of the raw data from which the Federal geologic maps of Alaska have been compiled. These files include:
Geologic notebooks containing the original field observations, descriptions, and sketches by USGS geologists working in Alaska since 1891. More than 3,700 notebooks are arranged in numerical order and are indexed in a computerized data base. Microfilms of these notebooks are also available for onsite use at the USGS in Menlo Park, California.
The Geologic Subject files incorporate more than 6,500 files containing unpublished reports, speeches and lectures, correspondence, reprints, photographs, and historical materials relating to USGS activities in Alaska. Also included are some reports by the Alaska Power Authority and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, handwritten translations of Russian geologic texts, and a small collection of Alaskan military terrain studies and highway reports. These files are indexed under 31 subject headings in a computerized data base.
The Economic Mineral files are a subset of the Geologic Subject files that pertain to mineral resources, mineral commodities, and mining activities in Alaska. These files contain news clippings, company reports, mine histories and production summaries, and USGS evaluations of "strategic mineral" properties for the Defense Minerals Administration and its successors.
Digital catalogs of the materials in ATDU have been compiled, utilizing desktop PC's and the Microsoft Access relational-database software, running in a Windows NT environment. Access to this archive is by appointment only; written and electronic requests are also accepted. Researchers should first conduct a thorough search of the published literature to determine which scientists have worked in their area of interest and whose notes and maps might be most useful to them. Access to certain materials may be restricted for nongovernmental employees. Owing to the irreplaceable nature of items in ATDU, only copies will be supplied, and reproduction costs will be born by the requestor. For further information, call or write to:
Schneider, Technical Data Unit
Files from Federal Government Exploration-Assistance Programs
|Map showing distribution of properties in the lower 48 states for which documents are available for inspection at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Field Office in Spokane, Washington (housed in building shown in photograph below).|
|Example of a docket, which might contain information on property location, owner, commodity, application status, exploration contract, and financial data. The dockets have been indexed in a Microsoft Access data base.||The master set of dockets from the Defense Minerals Administration, Defense Minerals Exploration Administration, and Office of Minerals Exploration occupy 480 cubic feet in the USGS Spokane Field Office.||A duplicate set of dockets for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana that are organized by State and county are stored in file cabinets at the USGS Field Office in Spokane.|
From 1989 until 1995, the USGS operated the Center for Inter-American Mineral Resource Investigations (CIMRI) in Tucson, Arizona. This center served as a focal point for the development and exchange of minerals information between public mineral-resources agencies and the mining industry in the Americas. The USGS, through CIMRI, actively sought to develop cooperative working relationships among governments, organizations, and individuals interested in the mineral resources of Latin America and the Caribbean region. CIMRI undertook four basic interrelated activities to accomplish its mission: (1) development and exchange of minerals information, (2) cooperative mineral-resource investigations, (3) technology transfer and training, and (4) research.
CIMRI collected and disseminated published and unpublished information on the mineral resources of Latin America. Much of this information was archived for public inspection. This archive includes maps, files, reports, bibliographies, computerized data bases, and many related materials.
In 1995, CIMRI was abolished; however, the archive remains. This eclectic, multilingual collection is organized by country and consists largely of "gray literature," unpublished or difficult-to-obtain reports that would not be easily available in most libraries. The archive is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is used by researchers from around the world who are interested in the mineral resources of Latin America.
The Latin American archive, located in the Environment and Natural Resources Building on the University of Arizona campus, currently consists of approximately 55 linear feet of materials housed in file cabinets, an additional 61 feet on shelves, and 39 drawers of maps. It includes such materials as The Mineral Deposits of Peru, an unpublished 1,715-page manuscript and more than 300 accompanying maps by former USGS geologist Frank Simons, who worked in Peru; and the Latin American portion of the field notes and correspondence of V.F. Hollister, a consultant who worked throughout the Americas. To receive further information about the Latin American archive or to make arrangements to visit, call or write to:
Sue Bolm, U.S. Geological Survey
520 North Park Avenue, Suite 355
Tucson, AZ 85719-5035
Telephone: (520) 670-5544 Fax: (520) 670-5113
Information archived for public inspection includes maps and atlases like those shown in the photograph (above), as well as files, reports, bibliographies, computerized data bases, and related materials.
|The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Latin American Archive (to left), located in the Environment and Natural Resources Building on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona (see insert), currently consists of approximately 55 feet of materials housed in file cabinets, an additional 61 feet on shelves, and 39 drawers of maps. This archive of the Center for Inter-American Mineral Resource Investigations includes such materials as The Mineral Deposits of Peru, an unpublished 1,715-page manuscript and more than 300 accompanying maps by former USGS geologist Frank Simons, who worked in Peru; and the Latin American portion of the field notes and correspondence of V.F. Hollister, a consultant who worked throughout the Americas.|
These three archives are maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey to help our officials and the public make informed decisions based on accurate and impartial mineral resource information. Keeping our environment healthy and supplying America's need for nonrenewable resources requires unbiased scientific data. The availability of these data is crucial for the creation of sound public policies. USGS scientists are providing important information, now and for the future, that will keep our environment healthy and protect our Nation's citizens.
Karen Bolm, Dave Frank, and Jill L. Schneider
by Judy Weathers
Web design by Carolyn Donlin
The Spokane Field Office U.S. Geological Survey
904 W. Riverside Ave., Room 202
Spokane, Washington 99201-1087
Telephone (509) 368-3101 Fax (509) 368-3199
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For questions about the content of this fact sheet, contact Karen Bolm
|Any use of trade, product, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.|
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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: September 15, 2000
Last modified: May 24, 2005 (mfd)